Reliable, as long as its in Somaliland.

One of the ubiquitous brands in Hargeisa is Telesom, the leading Somliland mobile phone company. Like Dahabshiil, you see it all over the place – emblazoned across buildings, painted on shop fronts, immortalized in shitty roundabouts, and plastered onto billboards.

When I first arrived, I went to the big Telesom office downtown on Independence Avenue to buy myself a Somali SIM card. It’s a bargain at only $5, especially considering that you get $2 worth of credit for free when you buy the SIM card. Unlike in the UK, where acquiring even a pay-as-you-go SIM card requires an unnecessary amount of paperwork and activation phone calls, your Somali Telesome number will be ready to go in two minutes flat. (Amusingly, several of us went to get our new SIM cards at the same time, and our numbers were suspiciously similar, with only the last digit varying from 5 to 6 to 7.)

The only slight issue with your new Telesom number is that, like many things in Somaliland, it seems entirely disconnected from the rest of the world. While it works perfectly for sending texts and making phone calls within Somaliland (and is refreshingly cheap), you will never receive any text message anyone ever sends you from abroad (it probably gets stuck somewhere in Djibouti). And while you can definitely receive phone calls from abroad, it doesn’t always work – some calls just don’t connect. So if you want to get in touch, best to email me.

8 Responses to “Telesom”

  1. I dont know what you talking about Miss because I send and receive text message from Hargeisa by my cousin. Im based in the States. Though I dont text him that much only in urgent circumstances.

    • africagrows Says:

      You are lucky! I haven’t been able to receive any texts, at least from the UK or Europe. Sometimes when I send texts to Europe they go through.

  2. Just to prove to you that it works..Send me a text, here’s my number…001-252-515-1130..Btw, it’s a N. Carolina number, not a Somali number, loooool..

    • africagrows Says:

      I have been able to send texts to Europe and have them received, but unfortunately I never receive the replies! In the meantime, I use Skype.

  3. Few months ago I was in Saudi Arabia and I discovered that Skype has this deal where you pay $2.99 for a whole month’s unlimited calls to N. America. And I was there for Hajj and we were a large group of people, so I let them call their families back in the states. So much for so little. Awesome.

  4. Telesom is quite reliable. I never have trouble calling or receiving calls from North America. And my Telesom card worked when I was in Moqdishu as well.

    • africagrows Says:

      OK, so it sounds like I have just been unlucky with my phone! I’m glad to hear it works for a number of people.

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